Getting behind on payments can happen to anyone, but not getting help to get caught up can mean a significant risk of losing your home. And for those who become behind or facing the prospect of foreclosure, there may be government help for late mortgage payments. Keep in mind that the government is not going to simply give you money to get your loan caught up.
However, today’s government regulations do offer some protection for homeowners, and many lenders are at least making an effort work with borrowers to get their loans back on track.
First steps you can take
The government suggests individuals to take their first step by calling their mortgage lender and determining if the lender can help them directly. Oftentimes, lenders are willing to adjust interest rates or to help individuals to get caught up by making home loan modifications. For example, the lender may agree to tack on the missing payments at the end of the loan or may agree to allow you to repay the missing payments over a period of time.
Making Home Affordable
Another option that may work if the lender is not immediately willing to work with you is the Making Home Affordable Modification Program , called HAMP. This is a form of government help for late mortgage payments. You may qualify under certain circumstances, if you meet the right requirements, such as the following.
- You are living in the home you are behind on mortgage payments (it must be your primary residence).
- You owe less than $729,750 on your mortgage and began it prior to January 1, 2009.
- Your payment on the loan is more than 31 percent of your gross income at this point.
- You cannot afford to make your mortgage payment due to some type of financial hardship, such as a job loss or because of medical bills.
In these situations, the lender may agree to work with you under this government help for late mortgage payments. You will need to apply for this type of help through the federal government’s website for the program. You may or may not receive help. It is important to consider your long-term goals here. In some situations, if you do not have the financial means of being caught up, you may lose your home due to the inability to pay your loan.